Photo Blog 2If you’re using a free stock photo site, you don’t have to worry about the rights to the photo because that’s already been addressed between the photographer and the stock photo website owner. But, if you want to pay for and use a unique photo, you should know about the various types of stock photo licenses available and what they mean. Some will give you more rights than others.


Various Types of Stock Photo Licenses

  • Flat Fee License – This license is issued if there is one user (end user) and won’t be licensed again – even by the photographer.

  • Royalty Free – When you obtain a Royalty Free license you can use the image over and over again until the specified contract time is over. But others can continue to purchase the image, so it won’t be exclusive. Royalty free licenses aren’t expensive and you can use them for more purposes than other types of licenses.

  • Rights­ Managed – This license gives the buyer exclusive, but time-­limited usage

  • of a photo. The advantage to the photographer means that he or she can protect the photo from other competitors. Right’s managed images are somewhat expensive, but it’s best if you want to use a photo for a specific purpose.

  • Enhanced or Extended – This type of license gives you an extension for the use of a photo. The uses might include resale purposes such as for print­on­demand or other types of distributions and uses. Be sure you read this agreement in detail so you know exactly what the details are.


When a photographer takes a photo, he’s the one who holds all rights to that photo and is considered the owner. Therefore, he has the right to sell, keep the photo or license it to someone interested in using the photo.



How to Get Permission to Use Stock Photos

Finding the best photos for your website can be a daunting experience. You need to know the basics about how to get permission to use an image you find and want to use to avoid problems later on.

Even though the Internet offers a bundle of photos you can use, that doesn’t mean that all of them belong to a giant photo database. There are guidelines you should know.

There are some things you should know before you use a photo without permission and find yourself in trouble later on. For example, here are some types of designations you might need to know about:

● Copyrighted – Don’t use a photo with this designation without permission. A photo that’s copyrighted means that the author (usually the photographer) has exclusive rights to the work. It’s illegal to use the photo unless you get the photographer’s permission.

● Copyright­free – When a photo is designated “copyright­free” it means that they’re probably safe to use for your purposes. Be sure and read the terms and conditions before you use it.

● Open License – This label indicates that the person who holds the copyright license can grant reprint usage. Creative Commons is the most common type of open licensing for images.

● Public Domain – Public domain images have no legal owners. When copyrights reach their expiration dates and were never renewed, it automatically becomes public domain or if images were first published in the U.S. Before 1923.

If an image has a notice that says, “this work is dedicated to the public domain,” it’s usually okay to republish it without seeking permission.

There are public sites that are considered “Free Online Image Banks,” which means that you can use the images for free and for any purpose. They’re copyright­free and offer much less hassle.

You’ll find a list of some of the Image Banks in Chapter 2, “Understanding Stock Photography Rights.”



Photo Copyright Infringement

An infringement of copyright can be serious if you inadvertently use a photo without permission. An infringement means that you’ve violated the rights of the creator – and there are several ways this can happen.

For example, if you use part of an image or the entire image without permission, you would have violated the photographer’s rights. And, if you don’t fully understand the license agreement, you could find yourself accused of a copyright infringement. So many changes can be performed on a photo today with all of the tools we enjoy on the Internet – such as Photo Shop. If you adapt an image for your own use without permission, you could be infringing on a copyright agreement.

Never ask another photographer or use a tool such as Photo Shop to recreate or change an image unless you have permission to do so. You will be responsible for the repercussions of an infringement whether you’ve knowingly or unknowingly violated a copyright agreement. Employees or anyone associated with the actual infringement could also be responsible and face fines or other legal problems. If a person authorized or encouraged you to use the image without permission, he or she may also be considered responsible.

If you’re deemed to be the one responsible for the copyright infringement, you could face a lawsuit, monetary damage, legal fees and in some circumstances face criminal charges. You may thin, “How could anyone possibly know that I used the photo in the big, wide world of the Internet?” Actually, anyone can find out very easily now that there’s technology the lets the owners of the images track down their photos and even report if they’ve been modified or if part of it is being used.

Be aware that infringing the copyright of an image by using it online before you know you can legally use it could cause you serious problems.

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Melbourne, Australia
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